The quest for the Columbia County junior varsity football championship came down to the last second of the last game of the 2003 season.
The Greenbrier and Lakeside JV squads squared off in the title match at Panther Stadium, and as the time wound down it seemed certain that the Wolfpack had its second-straight crown in the bag.
The Pack led 14-6, but Lakeside had possession at the Greenbrier 46-yard line with just five seconds remaining - there was time for one more play.
Lakeside quarterback Jeff Rowland dropped back and launched the ball toward the left corner of the end zone. A pair of Wolfpack defenders converged on the football, which ricocheted through their hands.
Panther receiver Jason McCall lunged to make the catch, but the all-out effort wasn't quite enough - the ball slipped off his finger-tips as time expired on Oct. 30.
Greenbrier's Freddie Jones gets some help from his linemen as he tries to get some yardage during JV football action against Lakeside.
Photo by Michael Holahan
Greenbrier had earned a 14-6 win to repeat as Columbia County Junior Varsity champions.
"Playing for a championship against a cross-town rival - this is what football is all about," Greenbrier JV coach Clint Woodfin said. "This is why you go through the spring practice, the two-a-days and the weightlifting. It was a big win for us. I'm just real proud of our kids."
Greenbrier finished the season with a 5-2 record, and avenged a 22-0 loss to Lakeside earlier this season. The Panthers settled for a 3-3 mark.
The county championship game was dominated by defense, but the contest began with some offensive fireworks.
Lakeside took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on a 29-yard pass from quarterback Trey Dove to Jason McCall.
Greenbrier answered in the second quarter.
Pack running back Freddie Jones picked up 18 yards on the first play of the scoring drive, and Greenbrier moved to the Lakeside 5-yard line on a bomb from quarterback Sean Gray to Bryan Sangster.
After getting stuffed by Lakeside on a sweep, Greenbrier regrouped and found the end zone when Gray hit tight end Cal Morris with a 13-yard pass across the middle. Gray and Sangster hooked up on a pass play for the two-point conversion to give Greenbrier an 8-6 lead.
The Pack gained some breathing room with another touchdown in the second quarter. The score was made possible when Gray lofted a pass to Morris for a 25-yard gain on fourth and 13. After picking up the first down, Chad Hollingsworth's hard running moved the ball to the Lakeside 15.
From there, Gray struck for another quick pass to Morris, and that first down reception set up a quarterback sneak for a touchdown that gave Greenbrier a 14-6 lead at the half.
While Panther running back Kyle Hill gained some good yardage, defense stole the show in the second half.
Lakeside lineman Jermel Bennett and Carlton Jackson led the way, while Rowland picked off a Greenbrier pass. The Pack's defensive standouts were Bryan Sangster, Rick Stahman, Daniel Sanders, Demetrius Ferguson, Mike Baura, Freddie Jones, Corey Durrence and Julian Quattlebaum.
"Lakeside has some great athletes and a big defensive line. From watching the film and remembering how they beat us, we made some adjustments on offense and defense," Woodfin said. "Our kids came out focused and with a lot of heart. The big thing is for them to step up and play the way they did."
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